The Metropolitan Opera began sponsoring a structured auditions program for young singers in 1935 with the Auditions of the Air, the ancestor of the present Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. The Auditions of the Air was a radio program that featured exceptionally talented young American singers who were auditioning to become part of the Met’s working roster. The first prize was a contract with the Metropolitan Opera.
Fifteen broadcasts were aired the first year, and eventually, singers such as Risë Stevens, Eleanor Steber, and Robert Merrill were brought to the Met’s attention through the Auditions of the Air. Although its corporate sponsor, Sherwin-Williams Paint Company,